Parenting Tip Ep 14: What to do when your baby is refusing milk?

When our baby was 6 months old, she started to refuse milk. Well, it’s not a 100% rejection but she would just stop drinking in the middle of it and it would take a herculean effort to get her to resume and finish the bottle.

We know she can finish the bottle but just cannot figure out why she is pausing halfway or sometimes three-quarters through. As a result, feeding time gets longer and we constantly worry if she is unwell. Is your baby going through the same thing?

If so, here are some suggestions to help you.

Weaning Season

At 6 months old, your baby is probably starting to wean. Not completely of course. In fact, all the way until 1.5 – 2 years of age, your baby is still going to rely on milk as their staple. However, as they wean, they will start taking in more variety of solid foods and the quantity of milk consumed may decrease but not too significantly.

Thus, you don’t really have to worry if baby starts to refuse milk or is taking in less. The tip is to adjust the quantity. We used to do 150 ml per feeding. We lowered it to 120 ml and it works. Alternatively, you can also split up the feeding into 2 sessions separated by a small time interval.

External Distractions

This is probably our most A-ha moment when we kind of figured it out one day as we observed our baby. Maybe we are slow to realise but at 6 months, your baby’s senses of sight and hearing are well developed. They can see and hear very well compared to when they were 2-3 months. So, what does this translate for you? Put simply, your baby is more likely to be distracted by sights and sounds which may not be a bad thing because it means their senses are normal.

Thus, every time we feed her, she would move her head from side to side at the slightest hint of sound or any moving object. This makes feeding a tedious effort and we ended up spending a longer time to feed her the full amount. Once we figured this out, we decided to experiment and would feed her in our living room which is cooler and during feeding time, we try to dim the lights (if it is night time) and make sure the surrounding is relatively serene.

You don’t really need to play soft music or anything. Just make sure there is no loud noise/sound or people moving around when they are feeding. In this way, they can settle down more quickly and we did this for a while and it worked beautifully.

Problem solved!

Are you still using your old teats?

As your baby grows, they will require a new flow rate for their milk bottle teats. At 6 months, are you still using the same teats meant for newborn (NB / 0+)? If so, it is a good idea to look into this and change into the proper teats. If the flow rate is too slow, your baby may feel frustrated and refuse to drink.

Generally speaking, teats are categorized according to their flow rates. So you would have teats meant for newborn (NB/0+), 1m+, 3m+, 6m+ and so on. Every baby will develop their preference differently, so the numbers on the packaging is just for reference. One piece of advice here…just because 3m+ and 6m+ seem so close, do not be tempted to buy the 6m+ teat because if you do, your baby may also end up rejecting it due to the fast flow rate that they cannot handle.

Yes, I know…it’s tedious but babies are delicate and so treat them with love and care (PATIENCE).

The Fact of the Matter is…

Every baby can be slightly different. The suggestions are for your good reference. They work really well for our case but one final word of advice…babies do not stay stagnant. Just when you think you had it all figured out, they start to evolve and your routine gets broken up. Do not be frustrated but learn to adjust for that is a sign that they are developing and growing.

Happy parenting!